Soledad Canyon KOA to Trail Camp
Mile 444.3 – 462.6
To have things like running water, wi-fi and other conveniences you must be willing to trade peace and quietude. The close proximity of the highway and more so, the railroad tracks were the devil’s price paid for staying at the KOA. The good news was I did not have any problem getting an early start over the hill to Agua Dulce.
I was pleased to notice the rising sun on my right shoulder because it meant I have finally turned north again. The 10 miles this morning started through grassy hills punctuated by cementitious outcroppings of red brown stone. Lacking the help of a geologically minded someone, I was left to my own wonder and supposition as to how the landscape formed.
As the trail descended to Agua Dulce, the iconic Highway 14 tunnel appeared to escape what otherwise looked to be a box canyon. Well below the road grade, the tunnel made for a creepy, cool passage in the early morning.
The other end emerged amid the Vasquez Rocks where again I found myself short a geologist to explain what I saw. The earth’s crust seemed to have shattered and been thrust upward to steep angles. I enjoyed the change of pace and a scenic trail that lived up to its name.
The PCT runs directly through the town of Agua Dulce. My first stop was Sweetwater Farms, the local grocery store, for what else? Cold Gatorade. The market also happens to be the place for the hourly truck service to a place known as Hiker Heaven.
A local couple, The Sauffley’s, have run Hiker Heaven for 20 years and provide a much needed respite for weary hikers. Loaded in the back of a pickup with Gulliver, JackAttack, and HeyNeal, we had a quick trip to the Sauffley’s compound.
Much like Scout and Frodo’s, this was a full fledged operation with showers, laundry, camping, shipping service, and other things dear to thru hikers. I had a resupply box waiting among many others and decided I needed to get my business done and be gone lest I get sucked into the comfortable vortex. Many folks take one or two day breaks here.
Laundered, showered, and restocked, I jumped another truck ride back to town where loads of other hikers were waiting for their piece of heaven.
I parked myself at the Sweetwater Bar and Grill for a yummy grilled ahi burger and monster slice of chocolate cake. There was a scale at Hiker Heaven but I didn’t use it. That I can take down prodigious amounts of food and drink and still need to tighten my belt tells me all I need to know.
When the heat of the day dissipates more, I will walk out of town headed north. I’m meeting up with an old family friend tomorrow afternoon. It’s an increasingly odd concept to have to be somewhere at a specific time but I think I can manage it.